Patience is key. Starting a new business is certainly not an easy task. Many work months and even years without pay to get a business up and running. There were several instances in where I got discouraged from posting new content on my blog and social media as I wasn’t seeing the numbers that I was so used to seeing on my other social media. However, I soon realized that with consistency and patients, if you are providing actual value, people will want to follow you and use your services.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rey Rahimi.
Rey Rahimi is an online content creator, entrepreneur, and financial coach. She got her start creating YouTube videos reporting the latest news online and garnered 139,000 subscribers on the platform. Having graduated from university with a finance degree during the pandemic, she eventually pivoted her career to creating financial content and providing coaching to her audience.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up moving back and forth between Iran and Canada. Having had my family be badly hit by the 2008 recession lead to me to realize the importance of financial literacy at a very young age.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Some People Dream Of Success While Others Wake Up and Work Hard At It” — Napoleon Hill.
This quote has changed the way I go about my life entirely. I come across people every single day who tell me that they dream of starting their own business, YouTube channel, podcast, etc. I tell them the exact same thing every time: “well why don’t you?”. You never know if a business idea or endeavor would hit off if you don’t try to pursue it. This quote led me to finally take action and work towards my dreams.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I really enjoy consuming business-related content. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is certainly a book that I think everyone should read at least once. I tend to re-read it at times, especially when I feel discouraged about my business, to refresh my memory on why I’m doing what I’m doing and my end-goals. The amazing thing about this book is that it changes the reader’s mentality from “working harder” to “working smarter”. This resonated with me a lot when I had reached a point in my life when I was contemplating picking up a part-time job to make a little bit of extra money. After reading this book I decided to instead spend these couple extra hours a week creating content and building a foundation for my own business.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Prior to the start of the pandemic, I was a commerce student at the University of Toronto specializing in finance and minoring in computer science. I took interest in the topic of personal finance during my final year and decided to pursue a career helping individuals with their finances and educating them on financial topics.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
I graduated from university during the pandemic and similar to most of my classmates, started looking for a job. A more traditional route would have been to start working at a bank or financial advisory firm for several years but unfortunately, during a time when a lot of employees were getting laid off, not many companies were hiring.
On the other hand, at this point, I had a thriving YouTube channel that was unrelated to what I ultimately wanted to do. I was earning a full-time living making these videos but felt unfulfilled as I wasn’t contributing to my career in any way. So I decided to make use of the audience I had built and create a new YouTube channel called Build Your Pocket centered around money, business, and financial education. Upon receiving positive feedback from my viewers, I decided to expand this idea and create my own financial coaching business with the same name and give my audience the option to book one-on-one financial coaching calls.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
As a content creator on YouTube, I came across many other creators on the platform that were posting personal finance related content and turning their followers into clients for their businesses. Graham Stephan, for example, is a real-estate agent who is now able to earn exponentially more money from selling his real-estate course online than he was ever able to make selling real-estate. This inspired me to think outside the box and start creating my own content and business.
How are things going with this new initiative?
It was certainly very slow-moving at first; although I did already have a huge audience to advertise my business to, many of my viewers had no interest in personal finance. I was surprised that I was only able to turn 1% of my followers to my new channel. So in a way, it wasn’t too much easier than starting an entirely new business from scratch. But now that it has gained some momentum, it’s been great! Being able to help others and provide education has to be one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would have to say that my parents have been extremely supportive of me this entire journey. Persian parents are stereotypically known to pressure their children to become doctors, engineers, or lawyers but my parents have always told me that I should do whatever I am passionate about, just try to be the best at it. As someone who is surrounded by people who were urged to pursue a particular career path that they weren’t necessarily interested in, I am extremely grateful for having parents who support my entrepreneurial endeavors.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Having started as a YouTube creator with a semi-large following, I’ve had a few viewers schedule fake coaching calls on my business website in order to be able to talk to me. I had to explain to them that while I enjoy speaking and communicating with my followers, there is a time and place for that.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Patience is key. Starting a new business is certainly not an easy task. Many work months and even years without pay to get a business up and running. There were several instances in where I got discouraged from posting new content on my blog and social media as I wasn’t seeing the numbers that I was so used to seeing on my other social media. However, I soon realized that with consistency and patients, if you are providing actual value, people will want to follow you and use your services.
- Don’t undervalue yourself and your abilities. As a recent university graduate, I had imposter syndrome when I first started out giving financial advice online. It can be somewhat difficult to trust yourself to design a retirement plan for a client when you yourself have minimal real world experience. So I severely underpriced my services and undervalued myself. Looking back, I wish someone had told me that my knowledge has value and that feeling like an imposter is completely natural.
- There are going to be many ups and downs. Every time I would hit a certain goal in my business, whether it be revenue or traffic, I expected to be able to maintain that level of success each month. However, I soon realized that this business is cyclical. There are going to be periods of immense growth and then there are also going to be much slower months. Don’t get discouraged just because one month has been slower than the previous.
- It can be quite isolating and lonely. I wake up in the morning, go to my office, and work. All day. Every day. Many see online creators and influencers and dream to have that lifestyle but the truth of the matter is, if you don’t have a group of friends who are doing the exact same thing as you, you are going to find yourself working alone the majority of your time. This is where the importance of finding outside hobbies, interests, and activities come into play.
- Celebrate small wins! Don’t compare your growth to anyone else’s. Every single little goal you achieve is still an achievement and deserves to be celebrated. Keep yourself motivated by acknowledging even the smallest of victories, whether it be your first subscriber, client, or paycheque.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I never realized how challenging working from home would be until I started my own business during this pandemic. After the initial 2 weeks of quarantine when I felt free and well-rested, I started feeling extremely isolated and down. Although it can still difficult to be working by myself all day, I’ve learned that it is extremely helpful to take small breaks during the day to go for a walk or phone a friend.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would love for there to be mandatory financial literacy courses added to the school curriculum. Too many people graduate high school and even university without even knowing the basics of personal finance; they don’t know how to compare loan options, mortgages, interest rates. Classes aimed at teaching the fundamentals of budgeting, saving, investing, and money management have proven to be extremely beneficial. Furthermore, research shows that children who are taught financial literacy at a younger age are better able to manage their finances later on.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Graham Stephan is a fellow content creator on YouTube who I look up to very much. As I previously mentioned, he was one of my biggest inspirations for starting my business so I would love to sit down with him and pick his brain.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can find me on Instagram: @buildyourpocket and @reyrahimi
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!